Thursday, July 01, 2010

Chalino Sanchez

In my Mexican Politics class this summer in Guadalajara, I am teaching about how what I call "Mexico on the margins" reflects some of the more conventional understandings of Mexican politics that we are reading in our core text on the subject. I use Roderic Camp's standard text on Mexican Politics (published by Oxford University Press and in its Fifth edition) and I supplement it with Sam Quinones's book titled True Tales from Another Mexico. We've finished the review of the Camp text and now we are reading the fascinating stories in the Quinones book. The first story is about Chalino Sanchez, one of Mexico's founding pioneers of what has come to be known as the "narco-corrido." I'll give you a taste of Chalino Sanchez in the clips below, but suffice it to say that the story of Chalino -- his career (life and death) and his use of the traditional "corrido" musical format -- exemplify a sense of frustration with and alienation from the formal structure of Mexican politics, a challenge to institutions of law and justice, and a process by which marginalized Mexico (what Chalino represents and what he sings about) seeks to reappropriate national identity symbols such as the corrido for the marginalized, as opposed to the institutionalized, elements of Mexican politics and society. Anyway, here's a bit of Chalino for you to enjoy. And if you want to learn more about Chalino, check out Sam Quinones's book.

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